Monday, November 3, 2008

The Electoral System and Voting My Conscience

The U.S. electoral system is oft-maligned but provides checks and balances to the voting process of a very large republic. It also allows voters in states like mine, which is safely Democratic territory, to express our displeasure with both parties without affecting the election's outcome.

I was never an enthusiastic McCain voter, and his campaign pushed me to the point of ambivalence over the past two months. The biggest blow was McCain's muddled-yet-enthusiastic support for the bailout plan, which might be the worst Congressional bill of my lifetime.

In addition, McCain's campaign has shown a frightening inability to remain organized or on-message. That's not only ineffective campaigning, but it bespeaks an unreadiness to govern. The Republican establishment has united, thus, to defeat Barack Obama (a worthy goal), but not to elect John McCain.

The nomination of Sarah Palin for Vice President helped Mr. McCain's cause with true conservatives like myself. She arrives, after all, with reform and conservative credentials, and a realness that is refreshingly foreign to the elite "I'm-from-Washington-and-I'm-here-to-help" attitude embodied by Mr. Biden, among others. However, the campaign's deployment of Ms. Palin has erased much of that good feeling. Rather than campaigning as herself, she has been tasked with bulldogging Obama and pumping up crowds. She could have brought a common-sense, maternal integrity to the campaign, but the consultants (no doubt) believed she couldn't handle real campaigning and had to act as a glorified surrogate instead.

Thus, one day before the election, I remain an undecided voter. I won't vote for Obama. If he lived in Europe, he'd proudly call himself a socialist (he likes socialized medicine, socialized housing, socialized insurance). He hasn't found a problem he doesn't think government can solve. He hasn't found an issue on which he disagrees with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid. He hasn't delivered on his promise to change the tenor of Washington politics. I urge those of you who live in swing states to vote for McCain - if only to forestall a government unified across all branches in its love for itself.

But I may not vote for McCain. Would Bob Barr (Libertarian) or Chuck Baldwin (Constitution) make a better president? Perhaps, perhaps not. But neither is going to be elected, and a vote for either registers my disillusionment with McCain. A vote for a third-party gives me a modicum of vengeance on a Republican Party that had a mandate to make government smaller, more transparent, and more fair and abandoned that mandate.

For whom will I vote? Ultimately, I might walk into the voting booth tomorrow at 7:15am without having made up my mind.

1 comment:

Mr. Dough said...

Chops, I hope you will consider the "Election Note From The Publisher" found at this link when making your final decision.
Character is the key. Knowledge and policy flaws are correctible but absence of character is not.